Healthcare Business

The 7 Best Performing Stocks of 2011 (AAPL, GENE, JVA, VRUS, GMCR, SIMO, MAKO, RIC)

Coffee Holding Co.Inc. (NASDAQ: JVA) is the second best performing stock in our 2011 screen, and it is the only other one whose market cap was north of $100 million earlier this year, but is currently back under that level.  The share price is up about 340% year-to-date. At $16.23, it has a 52-week range of $3.67 to $30.98 and it trades about 1.3 million shares per day.

You may have noticed the great coffee rise earlier this year and Coffee Holding Co. was a huge beneficiary of this trend.  It is not alone in the coffee-gainers in the best stocks of 2011.  Much of the blowoff rally came in July, after which the stock sold off hard with the markets. The stock has been bouncing in the $15 to $20 range for more than a month. The company’s sales grew during the recession and its fiscal October-2011 has already risen above 2010 without its last quarter results.

Pharmasset, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRUS) is unknown to many investors, yet the year-to-date performance is up 260%. At $78.58, its 52-week trading range is $13.98 to $80.11 after a 2-for-1 stock split became effective on September 1. The stock still has a consensus price target by analysts of about $88 per share and the latest research calls have all been positive based on positive drug study data. It is almost amazing that its market capitalization is $5.9 billion when you consider that it has no sales, loses money, and trades at more than 30-times book value. The stock also trades about 1.2 million shares per day.

Pharmasset’s primary focus is the development of hepatitis C oral treatments, and it has three clinical-stage product candidates in studies currently. It also counts Roche as a strategic partner and the top ten financial institutional holders own about half of the company’s outstanding stock.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) has continued its run and has risen almost 240% year-to-date. At $111.62, it has a 52-week trading range of $26.14 to $114.00 and its market capitalization is now north of $17 billion. This company has changed the coffee business with its single K-Cup servings and after acquiring roasters.

Many have been critical of the company on accounting, strategy, and valuations. It has already announced a pact with Starbucks. It is expected to have almost doubled 2010 sales and is expected to post 60% revenue growth in 2012. Green Mountain is still a very expensive stock, at about 9-times book value and more than 40-times expected 2012 earnings. The risk/reward upside might also seem limited here as analysts have a consensus price target of about $121.50. How many people want 10% upside more after a 240% run in a single year. That being said, betting against this one has proven to be a very painful endeavor in 2011.

Silicon Motion Technology Corp. (NASDAQ: SIMO) stock is up 207% year-to-date, which might make you ask “What semiconductor problem?” At $13.05, its 52-week range is $3.83 to $13.89 and the market capitalization is about $403 million. The company is a fabless semiconductor outfit located in Taiwan that develops high performance and low-power semiconductors for multimedia consumer electronics in smartphones, digital cameras, camcorders, notebook and tablet PCs, and personal navigation devices. Its three lines are in mobile storage, mobile communications, and multimedia Systems-on-a-Chip.

Analysts still see this stock worth nearly $15.50, and earnings are expected to have more than doubled in 2011 and are expected to grow almost 25% in 2012. Even after the huge gain in the stock, Silicon Motion trades at about 13-times expected 2011 earnings.  If the company can return to all-time highs then there may still be much more room ahead: it was a $15 and $20 stock in early 2008 and it hit $25 in 2007.

MAKO Surgical Corp. (NASDAQ: MAKO) is another stock on fire, and its year-to-date gains are about 165%. At $40.48, it has a 52-week range of $9.28 to $41.44 and the market capitalization is nearing $1.7 billion. It also trades about 600,000 shares per day. The company has an advanced robotic arm solution and orthopedic implants for orthopedic procedures for knees and it recently announced a development for hip surgeries.

This stock did not escape the July to August sell-off, but it has recovered and is now very close to all-time highs. What is interesting here is that MAKO trades more than $10.00 above the consensus analyst price target and it also trades above the highest analyst target of $37.00. The company is expected to post losses in 2011, and in 2012 and it trades at more than 13-times 2012 revenue expectations as well. This one is being treated at the early stages of the DaVinci growth by the investment community.

Richmont Mines Inc. (AMEX: RIC) has seen its stock rise more than 140% year-to-date in 2011. At $12.41, its 52-week trading range is $4.28 to $12.74 after just hitting a new year and all-time high. Richmont’s market capitalization is nearing $400 million and it trades more than 400,000 shares per day on average. It hardly even sold off during the troubles of July to August, although it did take a breather earlier in the summer.

As you may have guessed, the word “mines” is all you need to know.  The Canadian company is an emerging gold miner in northeast Canada and it owns interests in mining projects. There is limited analyst coverage, although CIBC initiated the company with “Sector Outperform” earlier in September. The gains have really come on since results of its core drilling at its Wasamac and Monique projects were announced separately.

So, you have a great list of the top seven stocks for 2011 that fit into price, valuation, and liquidity criteria. You already know that 2011 has been a difficult year for many, and here is a list of The Worst Performing Stocks of 2011 that also fit within screen criteria.

JON C. OGG